Competition for pupillage fiercer than ever, Bar Council report finds

Variety of candidates chasing every pupillage spot ‘steadily increasing’ yearly

Competition for pupillage is simply getting hotter, if new Bar Council stats are something to go by.

Figures on pupillage functions by means of the centralised Pupillage Gateway, seen by Authorized Cheek, present a gradual rise within the common variety of candidates chasing every coveted spot.

That’s regardless of a slight post-pandemic enhance within the variety of vacancies.

Nearly 2,800 would-be barristers utilized for a 2021/22 or 2022/23 pupillage begin by means of the Gateway, however solely 217 secured a proposal — successful charge of much less than 8%.

In accordance with Bar Council stats gurus, “the number of unique applicants per Pupillage Gateway position has been steadily increasing each year”. The 2016/17 spherical noticed about 10 distinctive candidates per pupillage; for the 2022/23 spherical, it was 13.

The variety of functions for every emptiness was a lot larger, as most individuals make a number of functions.

In an indication of post-pandemic restoration, chambers marketed 453 locations for 2021/22, up from 421 the 12 months earlier than. That was nonetheless decrease than within the years earlier than Covid.

Nearly all pupillages need to be marketed on the Gateway, however round half of chambers choose out of recruiting by means of it, so the determine for provides is decrease and fewer dependable than for vacancies.

For that and different causes, the report’s conclusions on who will get pupillage are additionally closely caveated. However simply trying on the uncooked and imperfect figures obtainable, the report famous that males had been extra probably than ladies to get a proposal, and white candidates did higher than ethnic minorities. Black candidates scored the bottom success charge of any ethnic group: 2.5%.

Disabled candidates additionally got here off worse, as did these from poorer backgrounds. Because the report notes, “candidates from professional backgrounds are approximately 1.6 times more likely to receive an offer of pupillage”.

On the plus aspect, the report discovered that not finding out legislation at uni wasn’t a drawback in any respect — and that perseverance pays. The possibilities of getting a proposal had been 1 in 20 for first-time candidates, however 1 in 10 for these making use of a second, third or fourth time.

Over half of candidates anticipated to have over £20,000 in debt by the point they completed pupillage; one in eight reckoned it might be north of £60,000.

Final 12 months, Authorized Cheek reported that solely 43% of those that began the Bar Skilled Coaching Course between 2014-18 had secured a pupillage by March 2020.

Eager on a profession on the bar? Why not come alongside to The Authorized Cheek Digital Pupillage Honest 2021 on Saturday 9 October. The free occasion is open to all college students and graduates, and options over 30 main chambers, the Inns of Court docket and all the main bar course suppliers, in addition to interactive workshops.

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